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psychological disorder

deviant, distressful, and dysfunctional patterns of thoughts, feelings, or behaviors

attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder

a psychological disorder marked by the appearance by age 7 of one or more of three key symptoms: extreme inattention, hyperactivity, and impulsivity

medical model

the concept that diseases, in this case psychological disorders, have physical causes that can be diagnosed, treated, and, in most cases cured, often through treatment in a hospital


the American Psychiatric Association's Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders. Fourth Edition, updated as a 2000 "text revision"; widely used system for classifying psychological disorders

anxiety disorders

psychological disorders characterized by distressing, persistent anxiety or maladaptive behaviors that reduce anxiety

generalized anxiety disorder

an anxiety disorder in which a person is continually tense, apprehensive, and in a state of autonomic nervous system arousal

panic disorder

an anxiety disorder marked by unpredictable minutes-long episodes of intense dread in which a person experiences terror and accompanying chest pain, choking, or other frightening sensations


an anxiety disorder marked by a persistent irrational fear and avoidance of a specific object, activity, or situation

obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD)

an anxiety disorder characterized by unwanted repetitive thoughts (obsessions) and/or actions (compulsions)

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

an anxiety disorder characterized by haunting memories, nightmares, social withdrawal, jumpy anxiety, and/or insomnia that lingers for four weeks or more after traumatic experience

post-traumatic growth

positive psychological changes as a result of struggling with extremely challenging circumstances and life crises

somatoform disorder

psychological disorder in which the symptoms take a somatic (bodily) form without apparent physical cause

conversion disorder

a rare somatoform disorder in which a person experiences very specific genuine physical symptoms for which no physiological basis can be found


a somatoform disorder in which a person interprets normal physical sensations as symptoms of a disease

dissociative disorders

disorders in which conscious awareness becomes separated (dissociated) from previous memories, thoughts, and feelings

dissociative identity disorder (DID)

a rare dissociative disorder in which a person exhibits two or more distinct and alternating personalities. Formerly called multiple personality disorder

mood disorders

psychological disorders characterized by emotional extremes. see major depressive disorder, mania, and bipolar disorder

major depressive disorder

a mood disorder in which a person experiences, in the absence of drugs or a medical condition, two or more weeks of significantly depressed moods, feelings of worthlessness, and diminished interest or pleasure in most acitivities


a mood disorder marked by a hyperactive, wildly optimistic state

bipolar disorder

a mood disorder in which the person alternates between the hopelessness and lethargy of depression and the overexcited state of mania (formerly called manic-depressive disorder.)


a group of severe disorders characterized by disorganized and delusional thinking, disturbed perceptions, and inappropriate emotions and actions


false beliefs, often of persecution or grandeur, that may accompany psychotic disorders

personality disorders

psychological disorders characterized by inflexible and enduring behavior patterns that impair social functioning

antisocial personality disorder

a personality disorder in which the person (usually a man) exhibits a lack of conscience for wrongdoing, even toward friends and family members. May be aggressive and ruthless or a clever con artist.

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